Financial Aid

UNCOVERING THE MONEY

We guide students and parents through the financial aid process. There are a few things you should know if you are completing the forms on your own. Our goal in financial aid advising is to give families information to maximize on their awards, which can typically save families tens of thousands of dollars over four years and significantly more money with scholarships.

Federal Aid/FAFSA

First, to get federal aid you must complete the FAFSA form, which can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Shortly after you process this form, the colleges you list will receive the electronic information.
You must get an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid – Identification). This is your way to re-access your personal financial information and it also serves as your legal signature. To create your own personal FSA ID use this link: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
You will need your e-mail and FSA ID to log back in at any time if you are returning to the site.
Next, less than a week after that form is completed, you will get an electronic document called an SAR (Student Aid Report). One purpose for this form is for you to update the form with any additional information or corrections. You will also get your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), which is based upon the information you originally reported. This could change if you update your information on your SAR.

Update:The Student Aid Report, which is sent to each college after the student’s FAFSA is processed, used to list all colleges to which the student applied and listed. However, starting in 2016-2017, colleges will not know the other colleges to which the student has applied. This was a source of frustration for students and their parents, since they did not want their financial aid package to be affected by the student’s list or school choices. This is a win for families.

For public colleges and universities, it is true that the other in-state public schools will be listed, but there will not be a hierarchical order of which school is preferred due to a new computer-generated randomized order.

Each college will use the EFC and additional information they require to determine the amount of aid you will receive from that school. Award amounts may vary for grants, work study, and loans.

CSS Profile Form

Typically, the CSS Profile Form is only required for private colleges. There are a few exceptions, as some public colleges require this form. The CSS Profile Form may be found at: 

https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile
The list of colleges that require this form may be found here:
https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv

Like the federal aid form, you will need your tax returns and additional financial information. Note: The CSS Profile Form is located on the College Board website (a private company) and not a government form like FAFSA.

The CSS Profile form aids in awarding additional money, including college merit money.

Scholarships

There are literally thousands of scholarships. We help students with the scholarship search process. Most of the students for whom we work on this part of the process, obtain between $50,000 to $200,000 over four years. This part is most exciting for us because families are ecstatic to have saved so much money.

Note: This video was created in 2013. A few things have changed. Instead of a pin, you need to get a FSA ID. Also, starting for 2017 student applicants, the FAFSA will be available in the fall, so students do not have to wait until January 1st. A new video will replace this video after this financial aid cycle so that real stories can be shared.